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Organizational Management

Introduction

Good administration is the hallmark of good management and the proper and efficient use of resources. Managers become leaders when their personality and character, their knowledge and functional skills of leadership are recognized and accepted by the others involved. Hitachi Ltd. is a leading electronic company specialized in information and telecommunication products. Hitachi Ltd Canada is one of the subdivisions located in Toronto. The mission of this subdivision is: ‘Hitachi Canada Ltd., through its employees, will always conduct business with the highest level of integrity, while striving to support the communities we live and do business in” (Hitachi. Ltd. Canada 2008). Effective leadership and management play a crucial role in organizational success, performance and positive culture.

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Management

At Hitachi Ltd Canada, management plays a crucial role in planning and controlling of all operations. The case of Hitachi Ltd Canada shows that the general manager of a subsidiary company whose products and market area are defined by the parent company has little flexibility of unit domain compared with the general manager of a subsidiary where the parent company expects a prescribed minimum financial return but imposes no geographical constraints and only broad product definitions. The latter has far more opportunities than the former for choice in the directions in which he or she seeks to lead the subsidiary (Armandi et al 2003). A manager’s opportunities to change or enlarge the unit’s domain are constrained by prevailing attitudes toward possible new outputs and by the attitudes of subordinates to any changes in the kind of work that is done. Then there may also be resource constraints including the number and qualifications of subordinates. Many managerial jobs offer at least some opportunities for managers to extend their domain outside their own unit. Many of these opportunities are determined by the kinds of contacts that the job demands or which the manager can choose to have (Boehnke and Bontis 2003).

The contact types provide a simple, and easily measured, guide to a manager’s contacts. For many jobs the contact types are a reflection of choice rather than a demand of the job. Some plant managers delegate much more and concentrate their activities on relations with other departments. Managers are concerned with the general problem of the effective integration of human effort at all levels in the organization. In his concern with this problem, however, he is not bent solely upon directing the efforts of people to fit the requirements of the organization. He is concerned with how human energy can be directed toward organization goals in such a way that the basic needs of the people involved are also satisfied. Such a manager, requires a general scheme or platform for thinking far more than he needs some simple how-to-do-it prescriptions for action (Boehnke and Bontis 2003). There are a lot of ways for the administrator to think about the motivation, productivity, and satisfaction of his subordinate supervisors and workers and of himself which would provide him with a wider range of alternatives for action.

Leadership

Following Price (2004) “leadership is the ability of management to induce subordinates to work towards group goals with confidence and keen­ness. Leadership also implies that the leader accepts responsibility for the achievement of the group objective and it is therefore essential for trust and co-operation from both sides to be in evidence all the time” (p. 65). At Hitachi Canada, the role of the leaders is to set tasks and objectives, strategic goals and aims. In contrast to managers who control and plan activities of the organizations, leaders determine short-term and long-term strategic objectives. They are not directly involved in planning and coordination of all activities. Decision-making, along with leadership and communication is one of the top three attributes a successful manager needs. It is a direct result of ‘thinking’ and you need to be able to ‘think until it hurts’. Decision-making is directed to reaching a goal/objective. Decision-making is what turns thought into action: it implies change and requires a decision to be made against a background of uncertainty and risk. (Barker 2001). At Hitachi Ltd Canada one factor determining leadership effectiveness is the relevance to the needs of the situation of the areas of the job in which managers choose, consciously or not, to exercise leadership. (Included in “needs of the situation” are the nature and severity of the problems facing the manager’s unit, the relative importance of different outcomes, and the particular abilities and interests of subordinates. In contrast to managers, leaders motivate and inspire employees through personal example and charisma, unique style of management and personal qualities. Risk-seeking is the main distinctive features of the leaders. In contrast to managers they have authority to accept risky decisions and introduce innovative ideas into practice (Boehnke and Bontis 2003).

Organizational Culture

At Hitachi Ltd. Canada, organizational culture is based on unique cultural values and traditions. Following Segriovanni and Glickman (2006) culture is not simply another variable or isolatable component of organizations. It is what organizations are. Organizational culture is the product of social invention and interaction that are influenced by the following factors. At Hitachi, they include organizational history, artifacts, physical space, and architectural design; degrees of formality and informality; social control that involves professional and institutional modes of socialization or indoctrination; shared symbols and meanings found in rituals and myths. The leaders contribute to organizational culture through unique rituals and values introduced during a long-period of time. They support creativity and innovation but prevent conflicts and punish unethical behavior. healthy organizational culture is based on leadership personalities, espoused and practiced norms and values and management philosophies. “Hitachi Canada Ltd. has a corporate philosophy of contributing to society through technology, and believes that it has an important role to play in supporting advances in science, education, environmental protection and international cooperation” (Hitachi. Ltd. Canada 2008). The role of managers is to motivate employees and control ethical behavior and compliance with social responsibility. At Hitachi, culture is based on intellectual background, organizational history and warm climate.

As the most important, humor and informal communication support warm relations and positive culture. Humor, unlike other forms of communication, makes possible the delivery of affective messages in a way that allows them to be received rather than resisted. Although humor is intended to limit seriousness, it is often a pretext for delivering a very solemn message. Joking in the workplace may contribute to error detection and problem solving. Humor is a medium for acknowledging mixed messages and incongruities. It pokes fun at human imperfections and absurdities while protecting individuals from psychological insecurities and anxiety resulting from damage to self-esteem and self-confidence. Its indirect and playful nature liberates both subject and object from responsibility for sending and receiving the message (Mabey and Salaman 2003).

Management Functions

The four management functions are planning, controlling, leading and organizing. All functions influence organizational culture and human relations at Hitachi. The manages admit that the plan should detail all the steps required to complete those tasks which are needed to be done in order to meet the objectives set. Time spent on planning is crucial in the thinking, the brainstorming and the sharing of ideas, the definition of purpose, the identification of obstacles and the ways and means of overcoming them and of meeting objectives. It is necessary, of course, to get the right balance between planning and implementation. Planning saves time at the strategic and operational level and the key principle is every moment spent planning saves three or four in execution. Poor planning can lead to misunderstanding and conflicts between employees and management staff.

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Success in business stems from good quality management decisions first of all and then the effectiveness in implementation which depends on the skills of leadership, influencing, communication and motivation. For this reason, organizing and leading functions of management help the staff to coordinate all activities and projects (Lagone and Rohs 2003). Managers need to be prepared to make time to think about decisions — to devote quality time to this crucial area of activity; to avoid superficiality (resulting from performing a great variety of tasks with little time to spare) because thought must be as important as action; and to involve other people (colleagues, subordinates and superiors) in making sensible management decisions. An essential ability in analyzing is to be able to break the whole up into its component parts, particularly complex matters into its simple elements. At Hitachi, effective management requires an individual to ‘take a view’ and that depends on the ability to combine parts or elements to form a whole: synthesis. Holistic is a useful word to use in this regard as it also conveys the approach, especially in business, which recognizes that ‘wholes’ are produced by grouping various units together where it is difficult to analyze them into their parts without losing this wholeness. Hence an holistic view needs to be taken in business decision-making. Communicating (speaking and listening) is crucial to get right in any briefing and it centres on the task, team and individual needs which should be addressed. Assertiveness is important. For example, to give the task direction and in explaining the role of the team/individual, especially in an initial briefing or where there is low morale (Mabey and Salaman 2003).

Controlling function of management allows the company to predict problems and make necessary changes before these problem occur. At Hitachi, to control others, leaders need to exhibit self-control (but remembering that anger/sadness can be legitimate responses if the circumstances warrant it and are themselves mechanisms for control), to have good control systems (simple and effective to monitor financial and task performance) and to have control of what it is that others should and should not be doing in order to meet objectives (Mabey and Salaman 2003). The success at directing, regulating, restraining or encouraging individual and team efforts on the task (and in meetings) are the criteria for testing a leader’s effectiveness as a ‘controller’ (Lagone and Rohs 2003).

Recommendations

Regular meeting and communication between leaders and employees will support organizational culture and morale. For most employees, judgment is improved by analyzing impressions formed, discussing them with others and by making decisions about people more slowly and after deliberation. Leaders must set an example for employees (Lagone and Rohs 2003). To be successful, a good leader must ‘walk the talk’. Employees take a fraction of the time to know a leader as he/she takes to get to know them. The example the leader is giving is quite simply to him. An example is set in verbal and non-verbal ways and all aspects of a leader’s words and deeds must be considered in the light of this. If example is contagious, it is worth ensuring that a good one is set to encourage the qualities sought in others (Barker 2001).

At Hitachi, a special attention should be given to motivation: verbal appraisals and financial rewards (Mabey and Salaman 2003). Getting the best from people, achieving results through individuals and teams, maintaining consistent high performance, inspiring oneself and others into action — all depend on the skills of motivation. Self-motivation can be as difficult as motivating others and you cannot have one without the other. Understanding what moves an individual to action is crucial in a manager being able to engage the will to act. Unfortunately human behaviour and what decides/triggers it is more complicated than the carrot and stick ‘theory’ which deals only with external stimuli. The ‘carrot’ of reward/incentive and the ‘stick’ of fear of consequences reveal only two ‘motives’ which govern action (Mabey and Salaman 2003). To improve organizational culture, managers and leaders should treat people as individuals. They introduce training and promotion for promising employees to motivate and inspire them.

References

Armandi, B., Oppedisano, J., Sherman, H. (2003). Leadership theory and practice: a “case in point. Management Decision. 41 (10), 1076 – 1088.

Barker, R.A. (2001). The nature of leadership Human Relations. 54 (4), 469

Boehnke, K., Bontis, N. (2003). Transformational leadership: An examination of cross-national differences and similarities. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. 24 (1/2), 5.

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Hitachi. Ltd. Canada Home Page 2008. Web.

Lagone, C. A., & Rohs, F. R. (2003). Community Leadership Development: Process and Practice. Journal of the Community Development Society, 26 (4), 252-267.

Mabey, C., Salaman, G. (2003) Strategic Human Resource Management, Blackwell Business, Oxford.

Price, A. (2004). Human Resource Management in a Business Context, 2nd edition. Thomson Learning.

Segriovanni, Th., Glickman, K. (2006) Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articles. Corwin Press; 2nd edition.

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